Dan Elson in the Blue Mountains in Katoomba. Picture: Facebook.

I recently told a work colleague that I am a traveller who prefers staying at hotels rather than hostels because I like my privacy. However, after speaking to Dan Elson I have now developed an open mind to travelling as a backpacker- even if it is just for one time. Here is what he told me during our interview.

What is backpacking?

Backpacking to me is picking one destination, grabbing my 70 litre backpack with limited clothing and jumping on a plane. Backpacking is having to travel to countries on a budget while getting immersed in the culture and beauty of a particular land.

How did you get into this form of travel?

I always wanted to do long term travel. When I turned 25, I moved back in with my parents and changed my lifestyle. I wanted to save until I was able to travel. I booked my first trip around South America, Diji and South East Asia and I have not looked back. It changed my mindset and enticed me to save and travel more. The internet, Instagram and travel forums played a big part in helping me learn about the dynamics of long term backpacking travel. I want to now inspire others.

Tell us about your first backpacking trip?

I thought it was just a "one in a lifetime" trip and it would get it out of my system. I was clearly wrong.

I loved it. I started from from Brazil right across to Bolivia, over to LA in North America, sat on multiple beaches on the islands of Fiji, met my friend in Melbourne and traveled the east coast of Australia, then I headed to Thailand, Bangkok, Cambodia, Angkor Wat temples, South to North Vietnam and finally river tubing in Laos. It was an adventure that I will treasure forever. I blog about my adventures at http://iamdanelson.com to inspire others to travel.

What are the pros and cons of backpacking?

Pros:  I get to meet new people, see amazing places, expand my mindset, party and have fun.

Cons: If you don't make money along the way it will eventually come to an end and you have to go back to "real life" and save again.

Your advice to backpackers?

Just do it. All you have to do is book your first flight. It is not easy, but sometimes getting  out of your comfort zone is worth it.

6 What are the top countries to backpack?

Top countries?! Wow, hell of a question! Depends what you want! If you are keen to visit a first world country, but want to see amazing views, then Australia is your friend. If you want to see super old ruins that maybe aliens helped created, then Bolivia and Peru is a must visit.  If you want fun and crazy parties, then visit Thailand, Cambodia and Philippines. You just have to choose what you want, research what countries offer and make a list and go.